Housing's troubled history of discrimination | March 29, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - March 29, 2019

Housing's troubled history of discrimination

Federal law, local covenants created segregated neighborhoods, cities

by Gennady Sheyner

For proponents of State Senate Bill 50, the proposal isn't just a way to get California out of its worsening housing crisis. It is also a chance to redress grievances from the past by creating housing that's affordable to all, including low-income residents and minorities who have been previously discriminated against.

This story contains 662 words.

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Comments

94 people like this
Posted by SB 50 - Great for Developers - Disaster for Renters
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 12:15 am

Wiener and his supporters privately know SB50 won't really benefit low and middle income residents. Rather, it will create a feeding frenzy of developers seeking huge profits by building luxury units in affluent communities. There won't be enough architects and construction workers left to even start working on buildings for low- and mid-income people elsewhere in the state.

Many renters will be harmed in another way. Given the seven-year prohibition on using SB 50 for properties with tenants, owners will opt to stop renting out ADUs and rooms in private homes. Even larger apartment buildings may find it profitable to stop leasing temporarily and start planning for a huge rebuild. With fewer units on the market, rents will go up.

So the huge reform bill that's supposed to help with housing will actually make it worse. Expect no tears from any developer.


84 people like this
Posted by SB50 ignores Affordability
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:00 am

SB50 is about the State streamlining production of mostly high-end market-rate housing units which will raise, not lower rents, and accelerate tenant displacement as more moneyed tech workers flood in to the area. Why? Because it invites developers to buy up single family properties in our neighborhoods to build big, tall and dense high-end apartment buildings. The first wave of home sellers will be offered a premium price by developers, leaving individuals buyers outbid. This will cause a temporary up-tick in property values before they plunge as, with time, our neighborhoods morph into blocks of single family homes dwarfed by a mix of 45-55-foot, and 75-85-foot tall projects looming over them. Many will not require even a single space of parking, no matter how many units of housing it has. And no - high end housing does not "trickle down" to middle and low income people, no matter how much the developers, lobbyists for Valley corporations, and a few politicians want you to swallow that. See: Web Link

Adrian Fine - why are you accusing others of scaremongering? That's uncalled for. Especially when your only comeback is 3 tepid SB50 provisions:
Renter protections are practically unenforceable for many tenants except in the few rent controlled cities (don't get hopes up for the 3 CASA rent control Bills to pass, they won't).
The so called "Sensitive Cities" provision is only a temporary exemption - big deal.
Palo Alto already has for-sale inclusionary zoning. Now institute it for rental housing as we have wanted - the Palmer fix.
Stop calling out other people and instead go to the link above to get better informed. You are forgetting who you are working for and representing. You are our elected Palo Alto City Councilman. You are not a State Legislator trying to pull off a power grab.

In the Old Palo Alto neighborhood on Cowper are several Birge Clark homes. The only protection for such homes, buildings, or Historic Districts such as Professorville, would be if they are on the State Historic Register. Otherwise there is no protection. On this part of Cowper, developers will by right be entitled to build to 75-feet. When a home comes up for sale, market-rate developers will easily out bid nearly any individual. With time, neighborhoods will morph into homes and apartment blocks, but not enough schools, libraries, or parks, and no way to move around on the streets. Don't talk about uber and autonomous cars being a parking/traffic salvation. Uber puts MORE, not less cars on the streets, taking riders from public transit.

This is what it means to lose local control over our zoning and land use process and why we as individuals must insist that we and our City oppose SB50.


44 people like this
Posted by SB50 ignores Affordability
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:07 am

Here is what I can think of that the City has done to add housing while decreasing demand:
-Passed Caps on new Office and R&D growth to control and lessen demand on new housing
-Exceeded State mandates for ADUs
-Saved Buena Vista Mobile Home Park (110 units, nearly 400 residents)
-Approved VTA housing project
-Approved Wilton Court BMR project with the affordable housing law
-Approved Mikes Bikes project with 50 plus residential units
-Approved projects with residential units - -Compadres, Footlocker and Olive Garden
-Approved Public Facilities Zone Residential Combining District
-Passed Affordable Housing Combining District to foster BMR projects
-Approved Phase 1 of Housing Workplace to attract developers

We must do more:
-Increase Developer Fees for our Affordable Housing Fund
-Up the required inclusionary units for new for-sale housing; add rental inclusionary units (Palmer fix)
-Enact laws to protect the housing we have


68 people like this
Posted by Who benefits?
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:21 am

Who benefits? is a registered user.

In "jobs-rich" Palo Alto SB50 reaches far beyond transit corridors, encouraging much denser (and under- parked) housing citywide, and does little to nothing to advance affordability. The story above fails to mention that the extra "density bonuses and waivers" that can be piled on top of SB50's mandates could raise heights ANYWHERE IN THE CITY (near train stations they could even reach as high as 75-85 feet), as well as eliminate set-backs, daylight planes, or literally any other local development standard at a developer's request, in ANY residential zone. Will new residents in Duveneck, Crescent Park, and South Palo Alto all walk/bike to the train station miles away or will they hoof it to their car and hop on 101?

Projects with up to 20 units don't have to include a single below market rate unit (or even pay in lieu BMR fees) and projects with up to 200 units only have to provide 15% of units at BMR rates - no more than Palo Alto's inclusionary laws *already* require. "Trickle-down" affordability from the eventual depreciation of new luxury units is all SB50 offers us.

So we give up all local say in the look, feel, and functionality of our entire city in return for ... nothing (but more congestion).

Meanwhile, in exchange for nothing, developers get many millions of dollars worth of luxury, market-rate housing, built when, where, and however big they want, and tech giants get to grow their local workforce unchecked while communities pick up the tab for transportation, parking, schools, services etc.


64 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 7:48 am

It is wrong not mention much less emphasize the additional size mass height growth that buildings can get
Through the waiver process which allows three additional exceptions from local development standards,
The article only articulates the baseline standards.

How can it be possible that every city with a train or a bus or a ferry will benefit not be harmed by a tool like SB 50 ( and by the way the other Casa Compact bills) that would impose, with an iron fist, a “ one size fits all” standard across the whole state?

SB50 is not in reality a housing bill, it is a bill that promotes profits for developers real estate investors and monolithic tech companies.
It will hurt family’s , small business public education and
The environment.

It will destroy our communities making it even harder to have a diverse mix of neighbors, burden our streets with more traffic , parking problems and GHG emissions!
It will be harder and harder for young family’s as tech workers age to stay in the cities the gave come to know and eventually result in sterile faceless cities that are tech jobs engines seperated from remote cities with no public transit options that am even more expensive.

SB 50 is an assault on local government control and even worse an assault on families and communities and the environment


77 people like this
Posted by Adrian Fine trying to destroy single family neighborhoods
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:05 am

Adrian Fine trying to destroy single family neighborhoods is a registered user.

Adrian's argument about affordability rings hollow since no affordability requirements are imposed for complexes under 20 units and then only 15%. If it was 50% then it might be different. Instead this will be more high end apartments for prosperous tech workers. Single family houses in Palo Alto are currently renting for the same as 600 square foot apartments in San Antonio shopping center. So we have a proof point next door of how this policy does not work.

It's much safer to raise a child in a single family neighborhood where your kids can play in the backyard without having to hover over them. Would you let your 7 year go to the park nearby and play by himself/herself because that's the alternative if you live in an apartment? There is a much higher quality of life living in a house than an apartment for many families.

Notice how the corporations which are driving growth get off without having to do anything. I say stop giving them a pass on Prop 13. The real solution is to have high tech companies develop other centers beyond Silicon Valley which has already reached its transportation saturation point.


17 people like this
Posted by Then Do Something About It!
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:17 am

Rather than complain about it, why don't concerned Palo Altans take to the streets & protest via picket signs & construction blockages?

This will get far more public attention as the local news media will gobble it up for broadcast purposes.

For a college town, Palo Alto is no Berkeley as residents just grumble & moan, pointing fingers.

The only finger that works is a symbolic middle finger.


48 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2019 at 9:18 am

At the heart of all these bills is a really queasy idea: the idea that “a majority of voters don’t agree with me, so I need to cut them out.”

That’s fundamentally what SB50 is about, and other bills are even more explicit; SB330 (Skinner), for example, specifically bans voter ballot initiatives on certain zoning issues.

You can couch this in abstract language like “the idolatry of local control” and “this is just a tiny bit … for now …” and so on, but fundamentally, it’s about “even though I’m a minority, you are immoral so you don’t count.” Wiener himself acknowledges this when he reportedly tells local officials "let me be the Bad Guy."

People ought to worry about that one, even those who agree with him (artfully non-denied above) that R1 neighborhoods should be outlawed. It’s not much of a step from there to “There’s a crisis, so I’m declaring an Emergency and building my wall anyway.” Actually it’s no step at all. And in the global history of “I need to take over from irresponsible voters,” the wall is pretty mild.

SB50 and the other bills are massive overreach by a state legislature that’s forgotten it’s supposed to serve voters. Voters need to fight this now before it goes any further.


41 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 10:32 am

I can't help wondering whether the state of California would be better off focusing on moving jobs to areas that have space and low-cost housing, vs stuffing more jobs (and therefore increasing the need for housing) in places that are already dense, with terrible traffic, overenrolled schools, outrageous rents and hpme prices, etc. Of course it would be great for local services providers like teachers and police officers to live in the the towns they serve...but this bill isn't about them. Many of the arguments I read about in favor of SB50 essentially say, if you live in Palo Alto and don't like this trend, just leave. That's not a reasonable alternative for current residents, and it's also not looking at the state as a whole.


19 people like this
Posted by JCP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:08 am

JCP is a registered user.

Excellent article, thanks Gennady.


12 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:12 am

The problem with local control is that Menlo Park and Mountain View are adding many jobs, regardless of what Palo Alto is doing. Palo Alto cannot isolate itself from the rest of the area, particularly with the vast majority of workers commuting into Palo Alto.

If you don't like SB50, you will need a better alternative. You cannot just stick your head in the sand and expect the problem to go away. By its actions, Palo Alto is clearly doing very little.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:35 am

RWC and MV are adding a lot of apartment complexes along ECR and branch streets. They also have a higher building level - about 6 stories in RWC. So we cannot point fingers at them but they did have a lot of unused space and buildings that were going to come down due to bad specifications. RWC has new SU growth in that city and MV has google growth in that city so lots of new tax base to support the city services required to support the new growth. There has to be a balance of new job growth with significant tax base to support the new housing. That assumes no free give-aways on tax base. So if any entity is bargaining for tax base reduction just to satisfy the "new rules" than we are in scam city. And Scam City is where this is all going. I think I am looking at a rationale to proceed with new building of any type with tax breaks just to facilitate "meeting the numbers". Bottom line is do not give in to this type manipulation - we need tax base to support added city services.


42 people like this
Posted by Radical Overstep
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

Radical Overstep is a registered user.

I'm a Dem. They are losing me. This is radical over reach. Here is the bill's language Web Link

Cities like Palo Alto have made real changes to zoning to include ADUs and allow much higher density is certain areas. Give this time to work. Ms. Uang and Council Member Fine know this.

Also, tech companies who are creating this mess by driving such a rapid rate of jobs growth need to use their formidable leverage with developers to push them to build housing. They are using all of the local developer and development consultant resources to move forward office projects--making office development more profitable than housing development. Tech companies have a role to play in making sure development resources are applied to house their employees of all income levels.


28 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

I know of at least two better alternatives that have been proposed for the area around Palo Alto.

One, some housing already exists in the Stanford Research Park, and Park management has claimed it is receptive to the idea. (Web Link) SRP has lots of space and has decent access to transportation. Housing could be built there, close to a higher concentration of jobs than is the case for the R-1 zones in the rest of town, without destroying existing homes or neighborhoods. Change the zoning for the rest of SRP to allow it.

Two, require that all office construction be more-than-offset by construction of housing that's (a) affordable at the area median income, and (b) within a 30-minute commute of the offices. This would provide incentive for both housing and transit, without micromanaging the methods used to achieve them. It would also put a speed limiter on the demand that's the root cause of the problems we're facing. We're not short of housing because R-1 neighborhoods and everyone living in them are immoral. We're short of housing because the economics favor office and luxury developments. Companies gain whenever they hire an employee; to be equitable, that gain should be offset by a proportional contribution to the costs of housing and transporting that employee. If such a requirement were enacted, you'd see large companies financing both public and private developments, directly and indirectly.


42 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:54 am

Annette is a registered user.

All these housing bills would be more credible if they included a provision that prohibited additional commercial development until balance is achieved or certain housing milestones are met. Per an article titled "Mega office projects on the horizon" in today's Daily Post there are seven large projects on the horizon that will add ~40,000 new jobs and 11,424 homes. Said differently, a 3:1 job-housing ratio. Approving that sort of development when we already have a severe housing deficit in this area is nothing short of irresponsible.

Need a visual? Picture someone constantly pushing a drowning person under water.

We will never ever progress on housing if we don't address the demand side of the equation; it simply is not possible. I'd have thought our decision makers could see that, but apparently they do not. Time for some new decision makers.


35 people like this
Posted by This Bill Needs Revision
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm

This Bill Needs Revision is a registered user.

This bill needs a lot of revision before it is approved.

What about public school impacts?
What about environmental impacts: Water? Transportation Infrastructure Constraints?
What about historic structures and places?
What role should tech companies, who are driving this crisis, be made to play in solving housing problems?

If the state is serious about usurping this much power, the bill should also provide means for local communities to manage the impacts of this development. Change of this magnitude, if it is legal, requires much more consideration of its probable costs to smaller cities with limited budgets and how the state will help affected communities manage the costs of its wide-ranging impacts.

Maybe government should be controlling the rate of growth of tech companies instead. Government cannot do this alone.

I'm a Dem, but I am beginning to suspect that the Dems have been bought by tech. I'm reconsidering my support of the party--though I really cannot stomach the other party options. We need a new party for people with liberal values who appreciate fiscal responsibility and discipline.

This is careless legislation.


18 people like this
Posted by Power To The People...Right On
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

> Rather than complain about it, why don't concerned Palo Altans take to the streets & protest via picket signs & construction blockages?

Because Palo Alto is a passive community. They like to complain but don't really want to take a visual stand.

They hide behind internet forums to voice their discontent.


37 people like this
Posted by Peninsula Native
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 29, 2019 at 12:22 pm

The problem is not solely a shortage of housing, it's an over abundance of people. City governments have created this nightmare degradation of the Bay Area through civic pride efforts to attract more and more employment to their communities.

Stop approving these mega campuses, office buildings and business expansions. Equilibrium in housing will only come when there is no further job growth in the Bay Area. The time is now, and legislative efforts should be directed at stopping any further commercial or residential growth.

Send these jobs to Texas, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere. We don't need them here.


36 people like this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 29, 2019 at 1:58 pm

As Allen Akin above points out, as does the excellent companion editorial to this article Web Link, what Sacramento =should= regulate is not heights and parking spaces, but the ability of cities to dump large housing deficits onto other cities in the region.

By doing that, Sacramento would push Accountability for the Housing Problem onto Cities. Cities could then decide individually whether to fund housing themselves or else via linkage fees and headcount/business taxes (such as now in Mt View and EPA).

Whereas by micromanaging local zoning, which is =exactly= what SB50 and other bills do, Sacramento implicitly reverse-delegates that accountability to itself. Every manager understands this. Under SB50 etc, cities bear no responsibility for the actual Problem; only for approving whatever projects come their way. There’s nothing that stops a city from approving a few apartment buildings, while simultaneously approving millions of square feet of commercial space in exchange for Development Agreement fees then spent on public art. Until cities themselves must own the Problem themselves, it is unlikely to get solved in cities.

Having Sacramento own the Problem, instead of cities, has a dubious history. Past Legislative efforts have not always improved things: the SB35-driven Vallco project adds so many more jobs than housing units that it actually increases the regional number of un-housed workers, by thousands. Yet State Law now requires approval of it, and other such projects.

By intent or by accident, Palo Alto has managed to arrive at something like a coherent Housing policy:

1. Balance future jobs-housing growth through a combination of relaxing residential zoning and tightening commercial zoning (primarily through office caps); and,

2. Use commercial-linkage fees to shift the housing mix, by helping fund affordable housing for low-and mid-wage earners.

(Palo Alto has actually appropriated $28 million over the last 3-4 years for the latter -- $15M for Buena Vista, $10M for Wilton Court, and $3M for Joe Simitian’s teacher housing project off Cal Ave).

You may or may not agree with this as Policy. For one thing, it doesn’t address the legacy jobs-housing ratio, about 3:1. Still, that issue is considerably more complex than it may seem; and Job One is surely to stop digging the hole deeper, a digging which continues at full speed elsewhere in the Valley. And it is self consistent -- it targets what most Palo Altans see as our highest priority housing problem: relief for low- and mid-wage earners who could otherwise not live in town at all.

The current crop of bills smacks a little of despair: “we don’t know, but every little bit helps!” Whereas finally holding cities responsible for the actual Problem (or maybe groups of cities … cap-and-trade for jobs-housing!?) would set up a regional process to actually solve it.


10 people like this
Posted by Reap what you sow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Palo Alto and cities like it finally getting what they have had coming for a long time. You want all the jobs but none of the people. You want all the taxes from commercial real estate but not from burdensome residential. Party is over people, SF,OAK,SJ cannot bear the total burden of this imbalance. Whine, cry and moan but if you haven't noticed Newsom isn't on your side with this one, he is on the side of the cities (sorry Palo Alto is really a town masquerading as a city) You have said no again and again and this time the people in power are saying no more. You are right, Sacramento is cluster bombing you until they hit the target, it won't stop. Either give up your 3:1 jobs imbalance, or build housing, you have had your cake and eaten it to for far too long.


14 people like this
Posted by Pocket sand
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Let's be real: you don't care about the people who are struggling to get by in your community. You'd prefer they stay out of sight and out of mind (on the other side of the 101) so that you can keep your utterly generic and cultureless "neighborhood character". You don't want change that inconveniences you in any way and are happy to pass those costs off to others forced to move, commute, and rent. You keep up this pretense under the assumption that you are safe, that the same forces harming your fellow Californians will never hurt you, but when they arrive at your doorstep and you find yourself commuting from Stockton, you'll find your fellow travelers silent on your behalf. Godspeed, hypocrites.


15 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:30 pm

This is a lengthy article and a complicated, over-reaching bill, SB 50. Please urge your state representatives to oppose it. Please urge less-involved citizens to become informed on all the negative effects and possible negative effects.

Meanwhile, I am not impressed by the information here that San Francisco Mayor London Breed supports SB 50. Let me get this straight: she recently urged Major League Baseball to punish Larry Baer of the Giants for grabbing a cellphone out of his wife’s hand, while using her vaunted position in December 2018 to seek clemency for her brother, who is in prison for Manslaughter (he pushed a woman out of a car in a serious case and she died)?

- Please evaulate the qualifications and calibre of California’s public figures before being influenced by their positions on anything..


34 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:36 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

"Palo Alto Vice Mayor Adrian Fine, who supports SB 50, dismissed the Embarcadero Institute study and Stone's and Burt's criticisms as "cherry-picking" and "scaremongering" by people who are committed to resisting new housing."

I am beyond fed up with Adrian Fine and his arrogant, dismissive remarks and attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him.


12 people like this
Posted by Power To The People...Right On
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

>>> Let's be real: you don't care about the people who are struggling to get by in your community. You'd prefer they stay out of sight and out of mind (on the other side of the 101) so that you can keep your utterly generic and cultureless "neighborhood character". You don't want change that inconveniences you in any way and are happy to pass those costs off to others forced to move, commute, and rent.

You hit the nail on the HEAD! Palo Alto is a very self-serving community of false appearances. They don't care about others...just themselves, which is OK but let's not try and delude others that PA is a window on the world.

Criminy...all these people do is complain yet they are never SEEN displaying their
discontent with on-site protests, pickets & construction blockages.

Apparently too busy making dinner reservations at some new fusion restaurant or browsing at Stanford Shopping Center...or tooling around in their Teslas & pointing to some new high-rise while commenting, "This is terrible".


23 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

I am beyond fed up with Adrian Fine and his arrogant, dismissive remarks and attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him.


19 people like this
Posted by Laura Gottsman
a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm

I live in San Carlos. I'd be more amenable to SB 50 if we actually had good reliable transit. We don't. My teenagers don't like to take Caltrain because they think it's gross. It smells bad, and it's difficult for them to get their bikes on and off because the stairs are steep. Sometimes, they don't feel physically safe. And the schedule is infrequent--once an hour, typically--except at peak commute times. We rarely ride it, but one time when we took my son to Caltrain to ride it just because trains are fun, the track was down and no trains came for two hours. Samtrans added a bus to the local high school--people stopped counting on it because it was often full and then the kids had to be driven to school and arrived late. How hard would it be to monitor demand and add another bus? Too hard, apparently.

These sorts of experiences make me think that building a bunch of dense housing without parking requirements and expecting transit to meet the new residents' transportation needs without massive additional investment in transit is not viable. Perhaps the Peninsula is particularly opposed to SB 50 because our transit options are so poor.


23 people like this
Posted by Give me a break
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm

We have no say in whether people accept a job in our city. We have no say in where those folks choose to live, whether close by, or in Tracy. We have no real say in what they get paid. We have no say in their financial situations, whether good or bad, which we had nothing to do with. We have little say in whether the jobs get created here in Palo Alto, or in the next city or two.

Yet somehow, without any say, it's somehow all our responsibility to make other people lives work for them? Provide them with housing? Here? I don't think so. Give me a break.

We have a system in place already - it's called the free market, the private enterprise system. Anyone who can afford it can buy in. The public sector supplies the rest. And this attempts to overturn our free market system. So people who can't afford it can live here.

Let work on mass transit. So people can live where they choose, and work where they choose.


18 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 29, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@ Evan Goldin...I'll start with you (not meaning to pick on you personally) but only because your comments triggered me to respond. Although I'm sure you're a really nice guy and have many friends, and I don't question your personal enthusiasm for where you live, but your experience is so much different than many others, especially single family home owners in our town.

What was reported by The Weekly:

..."That makes me quite sad, as someone who grew up here and still lives here and wants to have strong bonds to the community," Goldin told the Weekly. "I want my friends to be able to afford to live here. I want my teachers and janitors and baristas to afford a chance to live where they work."

Goldin said he grew up in Crescent Park, in a single-family home on a 9,000-square foot R-1 lot, Now, he lives in an eight-unit complex on a 7,000-square-foot lot. Everyone in his building seems to be enjoying a pleasant existence.

"The world will be OK if a few more families live on your block," Goldin said.

So, now you are 34, single I assume, and you are happy with your current living situation. That's great. Good for you, and I'm happy with mine also, living in a single family home on a 7000 sq ft lot in SPA. You may be one of the few people your age who can say that they're really happy in their current living situation. But thinking back to your childhood days and living in that neighborhood where you grew up, how would your parents have responded and accepted multifamily home units being built in your Crescent Park neighborhood?

And please, read the bill again very carefully, for the exact words. All those folks you support who serve us daily, and make our lives so easy and comfortable, would never be covered under this plan.

"The bill also calls for loosening development standards in "jobs rich" areas, a concept that remains fuzzy but that could potentially capture the entire city of Palo Alto. The bill defines "jobs rich" as having "positive educational and economic outcomes for households of all income levels residing in the tract." Put more plainly, Palo Alto would qualify given that its jobs-to-housing ratio of 3 to 1 is the highest in the county."

Focus on the key words "for families of all income levels residing in the tract". So, you can kiss off housing for all those people you named. Very few of them are residing "in the tract" where they work, and where we so comfortably live. That's the whole point and why this bill doesn't do anything to alleviate that problem.

When I started reading this article I knew immediately what the arguments from the pro and con sides of the issue would be about. The floodgates opened up. Any of us who are long time PA residents, and still have a functional brain, have heard most of these debates before, and knew what was coming. Worst case scenarios from both sides.

Why don't all these housing proponents address the worst of the problems...the homeless, and those close to being homeless...living in RV's and cars.

Marc Berman's support was expected. He grew up in a very nice single family neighborhood and he would never accept this bill when and where he grew up, but he thinks it's always good for those other folks, in those other neighborhoods, to solve. And here's another great idea...how about limiting the bill to SPA where all us country rubes live, those of us who can't afford beautiful, spacious, and really expensive homes up there in the north end of town.

Thanks for good reporting, Gennady, and The Weekly, and to Mayor Filseth and all those others who speak out in support of local control. We can't afford to lose it. And if we do...I'm outta here, like so many others have done and many of us are threatening to do because of crazy people running our government.


24 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm

The person who authored this bill lives in San Francisco. The number of families with children in the SF city is quickly diminishing as well as the number of children in K-12 schools. The approach is directed at what we see now in SF and whatever support services that they have now available to the citizens.

That is not our goal. We do not function the same or have the same population mix. We are a suburban college town with families and children. It is unfortunate that the people who keep popping up in these hyper intense legislative efforts are coming from a different perspective. Vote them down - do not let them dominate the scene. they have already ruined the SF city so keep them at bay. Do not let these bills pass.


11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2019 at 4:58 pm

>> Given that SB 50 remains a work in progress, its local impacts are impossible to accurately gauge. But according to a recent analysis by Embarcadero Institute — a recently formed Palo Alto nonprofit that surveyed the city's "transit rich" [...]

>> SB 50, the report predicted, "would almost triple Palo Alto's population and conservatively add 90,000 vehicles and 30,000 school-age children."

In some respects, I'm not worried about this particular scenario. San Jose has sites and is looking to permit new multifamily housing -right now- and can't get it built-- builders can't make money building affordable housing:

"But when it comes to building housing that’s affordable for its low-income residents, San Jose is way behind. The city has permitted just 13 percent of the state-mandated affordable housing it’s supposed to produce by 2022."

Web Link

There is no way that much affordable housing for low/middle-income people with schoolchildren is going to get built in Palo Alto. If they can't afford to build it in San Jose, they sure won't be able to afford it in Palo Alto.

What this is really about is serving developers who construct office space and high-end housing. We don't need any more of either.


10 people like this
Posted by AnthroMan
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 29, 2019 at 5:50 pm

> Rather than complain about it, why don't concerned Palo Altans take to the streets & protest via picket signs & construction blockages?

> Criminy...all these people do is complain yet they are never SEEN displaying their
discontent with on-site protests, pickets & construction blockages.


That is because 99% of them have never read or heard of 'The Monkey Wrench Gang' by the late Edward Abbey.


9 people like this
Posted by PhilB
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 29, 2019 at 6:14 pm

PhilB is a registered user.

So when an SB 50 "solution" fails, what is next? Forcing state prisoners from the jails to become construction workers? Housing is expensive due to (1) the cost of raw materials, (2) the cost of labor, and (3) the cost of land.

How does SB 50 address the second point? It doesn't really. So its follow-on will have to do that. Anti-union, oh, it's only a small step and for a good cause.


23 people like this
Posted by SB 50 would destroy cities
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 29, 2019 at 6:42 pm

In various ways, SB 50 would empower developers to build 4-5 story apartments and condos all across cities like Palo Alto to house the additional workers California CEOs plan to import from across the country and around the world. Get ready to challenge the law by statewide REFERENDUM PETITION or kiss Palo Alto as you know it "goodbye." And cities and counties better formulate an INITIATIVE PETITION to put in the California Constitution some protection of local land-use decision-making. Some. Build midrises in appropriate places - not everywhere.


4 people like this
Posted by @SB 50 Would Destroy Cities
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:14 am

"Build midrises in appropriate places - not everywhere."

Can't think of a more appropriate place than in a job-rich city with a mass transit station.


20 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:23 am

Annette is a registered user.

Someone wrote that it is not possible to fully analyze the impacts of SB50 b/c it is a work in progress. If you download the bill you will see just how true that is. Even though the bill is morphing (a bow to politics?) its overall impact is clear: communities will change, workforce housing will be built, developers will benefit, and politicians who are supported by developer money will also benefit. It will NOT remedy homelessness. In all likelihood, homelessness will only worsen as gentrification continues. SB50 is shameless in its falseness.

Some involved have the temerity to tell us that the issue is "complicated". Please. This issue is as simple as rudimentary math. And money is the common denominator. Commercial space is the hen that lays the golden egg. Simple. Palo Alto and San Francisco and other cities have catered to the seemingly endless demands of the tech economy and approved the development of way too much unmitigated (as in insufficient employee housing or funding of the same) commercial space. Simple.

SB50 is primarily aimed at workforce housing and there's arguably no point in transforming communities in unsustainable ways as long as the commercial development/office space tap is left open. The bill uses the word "infill" in relationship to where housing should be built but ignores the troubling fact that we have been assiduously infilling with commercial space wherever possible. Absent a horrible, jobs-crushing recession we will not improve the jobs:housing imbalance w/o addressing the demand side of the equation. Simple.

I suspect that what's murky - not complicated - is the politics. There are, no doubt, alignments and deals that we mere mortals can only guess at. But we can assess this bill and its promoters through a lens of skepticism. Who wants to be reelected? Who might be seeking higher office? Who is anxious to win the support of the large and growing voting block - renters? Who wants developer dollars?

I reject the accusation that opposition to SB50 is nothing more than NIMBYism. The Bill purports to be a solution to a serious problem. It is not. The Bill usurps local control and hands it to the State and developers, as though that is a good thing. It is not. Specific to us, the Bill defines Palo Alto as transit rich. It is not.

What SB50 is is trouble on an enormous scale. Statewide. It is an invasion of already developed property - existing single family and multi-family development and retail space. SB50 is also an unfunded state mandate. There is no requirement that the development bear its proportionate share of funding its various impacts. And don't look to the state for funding. Early in the bill under Legislative Counsel's Digest you will read that "The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason."

As I read the plain meaning of SB50 I was reminded of the saying, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics."


7 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:29 am

>>mid-rises...
>Can't think of a more appropriate place than in a job-rich city with
>a mass transit station.

Ok, there you said it! All the more reason for the sane and reasonable to oppose or any mass transit stations anywhere close to where they live. Or to add or upgrade those that already exist. For the simple reason: for some mass transit is the pretext whereby they put their noses in other people's tents and compel changes in their neighborhood. Some camels, some Trojan Horses!


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:35 am

Love the comparisons to San Jose. Note that San Jose has had a large amount of un-built land, formerly agricultural properties, as well as ancient buildings which are no longer under specification for earthquake standards and need to be replaced. Palo Alto is fully built out on available land and is locked in by the hills and bay. Please stop comparing the reality of our footprint with the footprint of other cities. They also have a different tax base then we do. Next time a person poses some hypothetical solution mention the tax base that supports the city services required to maintain the city. Our tax base includes the support of a school system for K-12 with the intent of maintaining some credible ranking in performance. We do not plan on throwing everything away because some SF "progressive" is trying to hype his career. Any legislative action cannot come to fruition unless it gets the votes within the legislature. That includes the Sanctuary City activity which the cities signed for and is costing us a mountain of money. The person who pushed that legislation - no longer in the legislature, had a Wikipedia profile in which he extolled the number of his non-citizen members of his family. And his congressional district is home base for the gang department. Signing up for these legislative activities needs more control by the congressional people who represent our city and county. Time and money is being wasted by these schemes.


10 people like this
Posted by Gnar
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:37 am

You know, the only griping about this bill I've seen so far has been from one city: Palo Alto.

This article is misleading. It's an entitled little city purporting to speak for the entire Peninsula. Grow up Palo Alto. This isn't 1958 any more, and you need to shoulder your share.


11 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:42 am

The following, singly or in some combination, would take care of this "housing crisis" that is mere pretext for (State or City grade) politicians that are toying with other peoples' properties.

a) a tech recession/bust, long overdue now.
b) a hike in interest rates (that would crimp the developers who have been running amok since the low interest rates following 2008 financial debacle)
c) the groundswell of boomers retiring and moving out.

All of that is inevitable. It's a matter of "when", not "if".

If they happen first they obsolete bills like SB 50 and consign them to the garbage bins where they belong.
If SB 50 passes first the State and the Bay Area would look like Detroit...with far fewer jobs and people but tons of "mid rises near mass transit" that operate at far less than 50% capacity.
And those politicians and other supporters of SB 50 would be nowhere to be seen...like seagulls flown in (when the times were fantastic), squawked around, crapped all over, and then flown out when the tides turned.


8 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:48 am

>You know, the only griping about this bill I've seen so far has been
>from one city: Palo Alto.

You know, you are commenting on PALO ALTO Online.com.
Makes sense the "griping" you refer to is (mostly) from PALO ALTO.

Since you confirmed you are unable to figure that out before spewing your animus toward the city you apparently live in, perhaps you'd do better to take your cynicism elsewhere?


21 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 30, 2019 at 9:35 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

"...the only griping about this bill I've seen so far has been from one city: Palo Alto."

During the meeting at Lucie Stern there were also objections from San Francisco, Mill Valley, San Carlos, Los Altos, Cupertino, and Redondo Beach. Those are the ones I remember, anyway.

Two weeks ago the Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted to oppose SB 50.

I'm not really tracking what's going on elsewhere in the state, but it looks to me like people from an increasing number of places are beginning to raise objections.


Like this comment
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 11:25 am

"a) a tech recession/bust, long overdue now.
b) a hike in interest rates (that would crimp the developers who have been running amok since the low interest rates following 2008 financial debacle)
c) the groundswell of boomers retiring and moving out"

I like how the alternatives to building more housing are apparently either having the economy crash or the Boomers giving up and leaving. Can't say that C doesn't sound appealing at this point.


11 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Building office space does not oblige a city to build additional housing. "Office to housing ratio" is a completely bogus metric made up by developers and developer lobbyists. I can just as easily invent metrics like "housing to bowling alley ratio" or "auto parts stores to parks ratio" that indicate Palo Alto has too much housing. It's completely bogus and residents shouldn't put up with it. Call out such trickery immediately when you see it.

That said, it was a huge mistake to build so much office space in Palo Alto, and residents are paying the price right now. That's why we need a moratorium on new office space. And we need the ability to build more affordable housing, not developer-profit / tech millionaire housing, which is why SB 50 must be defeated.


8 people like this
Posted by @JR
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm

"Building office space does not oblige a city to build additional housing."

No, it does. Because if it doesn't then you're causing traffic and raising housing costs in surrounding bedroom communities. And you may go "well I still don't see how I'm obligated to build the housing", because you really don't care about how you impact those around you. And that's why we have State laws already on the books setting housing goals for cities based on their jobs to housing ratio. SB50 will make it even easier to build the necessary housing, and more bills will come if needed (which is very likely).


10 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:38 pm

"No, it does."

Ok, let's see how far we can take this. Mountain View has too many grocery stores per capita. Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Safeway, etc. Mountain View residents recklessly built grocery stores that are creating a nuisance and traffic. Therefore we must force Mountain View to build more offices, so that people can easily get to the grocery store after work without creating traffic. Mountain View residents need to mitigate the impact of their grocery stores.

San Jose has too much housing per capita and it's creating big problems for neighboring cities due to all San Jose's commuters. Let's force San Jose to build more offices. San Jose residents should have no input, they have an obligation to build more offices and we will force them to build more offices, even if it means they have to bulldoze parks to do it.

Santa Clara has too many warehouses per capita. There are too many trucks going back and forth on 101 creating traffic for neighboring cities. It's not fair and it's reckless, therefore Santa Clara needs to build more trucks stops. We'll make them build more truck stops because Santa Clara doesn't care about how their warehouses impact those around you.

We can do this all day. In fact, all of these obligations are made up. Either residents have a say in what their city looks like (Democracy) or they don't (Communist China). I know which I'd like to live in, how about you?


2 people like this
Posted by @JR
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Hahaha, you're just being absurd now. You're free to do that for however long you'd like, but democracy isn't getting to pretend that you live within a bubble and don't have to care about any negative externalities you place upon surrounding communities.


25 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Pat Burt is a registered user.

It is disappointing that our current Vice-Mayor, Adrian Fine, resorted to accusing Greer Stone and me of “cherry picking” and “fearmongering” in our op-ed last week, Web Link. Such unsubstantiated name calling should be beneath our local officials. Instead, we need an open debate about the full impacts of SB50 and its most important implications. Rather than substantive debate, Fine has repeatedly offered a deceptive refrain that “we should put housing near transit”, while criticizing what he proclaims as the “idolatry of local control” over zoning.
In reality, Palo Alto already decided to put housing near transit. We adopted policies to allow dense housing in our downtown areas under our state approved Housing Plan, and then translated those policies into local law by significantly up-zoning housing in those areas. Those actions received consensus support from the PTC and City Council. Unfortunately, Adrian subsequently led the charge to eliminate the downtown commercial cap, refusing to even consider modifying it to focus on office. That action undermined the creation of the housing he claims to support by continuing to welcome more profitable office development.
The primary concerns about SB50 for Palo Alto are not its downtown impacts, but rather the extension of dense, under parked housing in neighborhoods not served by transit and the very large, high density apartments with zero parking imposed in single family home (R-1) neighborhoods within a half-mile of the train stations. Further, despite tepid amendments to try to garner support for the bill, Wiener and his supporters have made clear that SB50 is not the end of their radical proposals. They have recently adopted a new accusation, that single family neighborhoods are inherently immoral and that it’s the duty of towns and small cities to urbanize to support developers and big tech.
Fine has claimed that he advised Wiener on SB50. The community deserves he be transparent about what he advocated, especially about the SB50 city wide up-zoning of all residential neighborhoods in job rich/good school/high income communities, a designation seemingly targeted at Palo Alto.
We also need to know if he has worked to undermine our rights as a charter city, the charter that our local elected officials swear to protect in their oath of office.


15 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan Against Further Development UNITE!
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2019 at 1:40 pm

We must take stand against the further destruction of our city & the detriments to quality of life issues.

This calls for action. Civil disobedience is a time-honored manner of showing a collective stand.

By standing in front of oncoming construction-related vehicles, blocking the various access points/roads & even chaining ourselves to the protective cyclone fences, we can make a broad statement that will be captured in the local news & spread further awareness to the current disposition of our city & neighborhoods.

A 3-minute address at City Hall has proven to fall on deaf ears & the local politicians are in bed with the developers.

It is time for non-violent physical protest. Come join those who are willing to let our voices be heard to a far larger audience.


3 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 1:49 pm

To the individual that responds with the "@"prefix to others and resides in "another community"

>I like how the alternatives to building more housing
Spare us the cynicism. Sure, we like how your alternative is "build more housing". When your one alternative is a "hammer", sure the world looks like a nail. As they say, a mouse with one escape path (an alternative) is a dead mouse...and SB 50 is dead even at this early stage...


4 people like this
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Multiple housing bills have already passed, we have a Governor that's pro-housing, and the Millennial generation is more politically active with each passing year. SB50 has a good chance at passing, and even if it doesn't, there's always next year. You're not going to exclude Millennials from jobs or the housing market. We're going to build more housing.


2 people like this
Posted by @Unite
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 2:23 pm

"By standing in front of oncoming construction-related vehicles, blocking the various access points/roads & even chaining ourselves to the protective cyclone fences, we can make a broad statement that will be captured in the local news & spread further awareness to the current disposition of our city & neighborhoods."

Wealthy homeowners in one of the richest cities in the country blocking access to an apartment construction site during a housing crisis in order to make a statement. Please, proceed.


2 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan Against Further Development UNITE!
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2019 at 2:43 pm

@Unite

"Wealthy homeowners in one of the richest cities in the country blocking access to an apartment construction site during a housing crisis in order to make a statement. Please, proceed."

A valid point as many Palo Altans seem intent on expressing their protests via self-serving whining & sanctimonious outrage.

Our group is a bit different...we've seen the inside of a jail.


1 person likes this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 3:00 pm

>Multiple housing bills have already passed...
And, as State Housing staff themselves admit, those bills have shown scant regard for safety and have left fire safety issues by the wayside, as noted by the State Fire Dept.
The first incident--be it fire or something--with lives lost or hurt...and it is only a matter of time...and watch these same bills and politicians behind them (and the supporters of those bills and politicians) shy away from being accountable. Simply put these bills are today's equivalent of CDOs...and as in 2008, when the dirt hits the fan, some lose their savings and in this case, their lives...and those responsible escape unscathed. Watch what you support...

>there's always next year...We're going to build more housing.
As with Prop 13 there's a referendum that will take away the ability of politicians to play with what's not their's...you only made certain that referendum will be on the next ballot and there's one more person, me!, that will devote my 100% to insure it prevails.


2 people like this
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 3:26 pm

None of the housing goal bills have done away with fire and safety ordinances, so you can stop your baseless fear-mongering.

"As with Prop 13 there's a referendum that will take away the ability of politicians to play with what's not their's...you only made certain that referendum will be on the next ballot and there's one more person, me!, that will devote my 100% to insure it prevails."

Oh of course, I fully expect you and the rest of your generation to claw whatever remaining wealth you can away from the Millennials before we take the wheel from you.


2 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 4:02 pm

>None of the housing goal bills have done away with fire and safety
>ordinances

The Housing Bills had the support of the CA Association of Realtors.
It was opposed by those concerned with fire hazards and safety: the CA Fire Chiefs Association and the Fire Districts Association of CA.


REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
Support
California Association of Realtors
Opposition
California Fire Chiefs Association
Fire Districts Association of California

>so you can stop your baseless fear-mongering.

No, I won't. My position is based on fact. It is you who, presuming to speak on behalf of "Millennials", needs to stop your nonsense and take and keep your nihilism to where it belongs: your own home assuming you have one.


4 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 4:15 pm

In case there's any Q who prepared that analysis re: those that supported or opposed CA Housing Bill AB 494 it was none other than Debbie Michel, the Lt Governor of the State. See below.

In short, AB 494 was supported by the Realtors Association and opposed by the Fire Chiefs and Districts. Another CDO Debacle in the making...with lives on the line...while the realtors and politicians make merry and won't, can't be held accountable later. SB 50 only worsens that.

REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
Support
California Association of Realtors
Opposition
California Fire Chiefs Association
Fire Districts Association of California
Analysis Prepared by: Debbie Michel / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958


Like this comment
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Which fire and safety ordinances did the housing bills do away with?


3 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 4:40 pm

The public engaged in this debate would do well to follow the facts and the votes of Debbie Michel and the Fire Chiefs/Districts that opposed the housing bill, not the Realtors Association.

>Which fire and safety ordinances did the housing bills do away with?
I can't in good faith engage with you. You don't know what you are talking about and yet you seem to have no hesitation in telling others what to do, apparently on the self-claimed authority on behalf of "Millennials".


Like this comment
Posted by @Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2019 at 4:45 pm

You can't in good faith engage with me because you can't engage in good faith. You're trying to divert away from having to acknowledge that the housing bills didn't undo any fire and safety ordinances.


18 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 30, 2019 at 5:42 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

While all the attention is on SB50, there are a number of other bills containing specific proposals that are quietly flying under the radar, but which taken together are intended to legislate a much more draconian impact on local zoning than SB50 alone.

By breaking apart these specific proposals into separate bills, this appears to give proponents of SB50 "plausible deniability" as to what the impacts of SB50 will be. Also to mask a carefully planned backdoor stealth attack, while everyone is looking the other way, to legislate "by right" much greater height and density bonuses in R1 and R2 neighborhoods, among other things, than is specified in SB50 alone.


2 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Landlord
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2019 at 6:51 pm

This discourse over limited housing opportunities in Palo Alto is exactly why I only offer 1-year leases on my three rental properties.

I tell all of my prospective & existing tenants...if you don't like living here or have a problem with my periodic rent increases, then MOVE!

So far, no one has taken me up on my offer because they know better.

I've been a PA landlord for awhile now & my rents have gone from $750.00/month for a 3BR/2B house to over $4500.00 for the same property! All in a matter of 30 years or so.

The housing crunch has proven to be very lucrative & since supply/demand criteria dictates the rent I can charge, the shortage of PA housing has been a godsend.

Considering that I bought these properties for about $175K, I always tell my tenants that I can easily sell them when it comes rent increase time.

They get the message. Big time.


6 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:38 pm

The jobs-housing imbalance is a regional problem, and regional problems require regional solutions. No city can solve it on its own. We have to work together at the regional and state level to fix the broken incentives that lead to jobs-housing imbalance. Simple as that.


5 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Fact: people who live in dense urban housing produce less greenhouse gasses than people who live in suburban and rural sprawl.

The UN panel on climate change gives us a twelve year window to drastically reverse our greenhouse gas pollution, or we have no chance of averting the disastrous consequences. Sea level rise putting major US and world cities underwater. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, famine, heat waves, mass extinctions.

Really puts into perspective complaints about "neighborhood character", views, and convenient ample free parking.

We live in a liberal area where people supposedly believe in science and care about climate change.

But do you care enough to make changes to your city and state?

Or do you just say you care at parties?

I believe in Californians. We're smart enough and good enough to do the right thing and build infill around job centers and mass transit.


25 people like this
Posted by We will remember
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Regarding 2 points that Pat Burt raises -
I too find it inappropriate that a council member (Adrian Fine) would forget who elected him (residents) and where his duty lay - to represent Palo Alto. We did not elect him to work against us, to team up with SB50 author, State Sen. Wiener as an advisor and advocate, yet that is what Fine has done, even offering talks in the community to promote SB50 - next week to the Peninsula Young Dems.

I expect our City to come out formally against SB50 as it did with Wiener's last attempt to grab power from cities and usurp local control over zoning and land use laws with SB827. Fine knows this, yet he works against our interests. Shocking.

The only thing more shocking is Fine's gall in calling out the two op-ed writers who wrote a perfectly good editorial on SB50 that disagreed with Wiener. But it makes sense that Adrian would have to bad mouth and put them down - that's his job now - to advise, promote and defend the State, not our town.


7 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 30, 2019 at 9:20 pm

This article and the comments are emblematic of why we need SB 50 and bills like it. Local control is NIMBY control. Cities have had 50 years to do the right thing. It's become exceedingly clear that without state action, they never will. I'm so glad that this bill is finally going to make cities like Palo Alto do its fair share.


17 people like this
Posted by Tech
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 30, 2019 at 9:47 pm

Tech is a registered user.

@Jeremy Hoffman
Your
"Fact: people who live in dense urban housing produce less greenhouse gasses than people who live in suburban and rural sprawl."

is very much up for debate. There are many variables in play in analyzing energy/heat flows for a city. It is erroneous to say this is a sipulated 'fact' . Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a lot of technical reserach on this point, but here's a layman's version.
Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 12:42 am

"When it came to meeting its housing allocation in the state's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle for the years 2007-14, Palo Alto was 14th out of 15 cities in the county, the report stated. During this period, the city issued permits for 1,080 units, which comprised 38 percent of its 2,860-unit allocation. The city's record on affordable housing was even worse: Permits were issued for 293 below-market-rate units, or 16 percent of its allocation of 1,874 units."

This is especially misleading. Palo Alto didn't deny permits for any of its RHNA allocation, all of the 2,860 units were entitled. It's the property owners that took the entitlements then decided to not move forward with permitting and construction.

It's the same thing that's happened throughout the region, including in San Jose, Cupertino, etc., developers ask for and receive entitlements under RHNA then they sit on those entitlements.


22 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 7:20 am

Posted by Jeremy Hoffman, a resident of Mountain View

>> Fact: people who live in dense urban housing produce less greenhouse gasses than people who live in suburban and rural sprawl.

>> We live in a liberal area where people supposedly believe in science and care about climate change.

I don't like the use of "believe" in this context. I don't have to "believe in science" -- climate change is happening all around us right now. I don't need to "believe" in it.

But, there are a string of logical fallacies that the people who are pushing SB50 and similar moves continue to engage in.

The first fallacy is that you need high-rises to get higher density. You don't. High rises are more expensive, and serve the egos of the rich-- they don't offer inexpensive or particularly energy-efficient building. 3-4 story multifamily buildings, and, townhouse/rowhouse designs can be dense, energy-efficient, and lowest-cost construction.

The second fallacy is that "the market" can and will build affordable housing. We have seen many decades of failure of this idea. What happens in the real world is that new market-driven construction serves people who are above average in income. Over time, as buildings age, they often and eventually trickle down to people who are below average in income. Cities need older housing for less wealthy people. "The market" will not build us out of a housing shortage for lower-income people. If we need to build new housing lower-income people, it will have to be subsidized somehow by taxes on the wealthy.

The third fallacy is that buses are viable transit for middle-upper-class people. Buses that share the roadway with commuting cars will always be slow. Slower than driving. The reality is that middle and up income people don't ride buses because they are slow. They just don't do it. Caltrain is viable up and down the peninsula because it is fast.


8 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2019 at 8:59 am

>This article and the comments are emblematic of why we need SB 50
>and bills like it. Local control is NIMBY control.

This comment and comments similar to it are emblematic of why we need a World Govt and bills to establish one. Each country controlling their own areas is NIMBY control. Their extensions--each State in the USA, and each town in those States,controlling their own areas--are all NIMBY control.
Forget this grass roots, bottoms up form of governance and democracy. That is just a form of local control which...is NIMBY control.

What we need is a reversion back to totalitarianism, even monarchy...where someone sitting somewhere far away issues diktats and ukases and we that prefer grass roots and bottoms up forms of governance that give us some form of control and influence over our localities have no option but to comply with those diktats and ukases.


20 people like this
Posted by Development Is Responsible Environmentalism
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 9:57 am

> Fact: people who live in dense urban housing produce less greenhouse gasses than people who live in suburban and rural sprawl.
> We live in a liberal area where people supposedly believe in science and care about climate change.

This is a good argument for pro-development in Palo Alto. In other words, we can actually reduce global warming by providing more housing within the community.

I used to think it was the opposite but this is refreshing scientific news as it appears the anti-development faction is not being environmental but merely selfish & self-serving.

At first I used to see the high-rises along San Antonio Road and view them with dismay. Now I realize that they are in fact responsible living alternatives & solutions.

Thank you for your insights Mr. Hoffman. It just goes to show that some of us were misled by believing that housing density is BAD. If environmental impact reports can further verify this observation then we should be able to proced with additional housing developments!





27 people like this
Posted by Don't Be EVIL Companies
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 10:31 am

@Tech,
Thank you for pointing out that density is NOT = to green. We have hit the limit of our infrastructure on the Peninsula and density is only causing pollution, negative health impacts, and impairing safety. People are not coral that attach to a location and go nowhere.

Probably the biggest reason NOT to continue this senseless overdevelopment isn't even mentioned in these discussions. As more and more people live detached from the natural world and have to go visit it like Disneyland, they become less and less willing or able to protect or live with it. We should not be aspiring to be Hong Kong like San Francisco is, and it's just not necessary. This is all about the selfish wants of a few large tech companies and greedy developers who want to cash in on this destructive and unsafe overdevelopment.

The resources would be better spend creating a few new centers of innovation or overhauling a few delapidated towns so they have the resources they need and can grow in a way that these development shills above think is good. Even in California, we have towns on the top 50 cities Americans are abandoning most.
Web Link
Southern California has been hugely overdeveloped, and the sprawl of urban decay is crying out for renewal.

Overdevelopment has CAUSED the housing crisis. More overdevelopment will only make things worse and is NOT sustainable. The only only solution is to stop trying to overdevelop this area and renovate other cities that want to stem their outward migration so that we MULTIPLY the number of innovation centers. Thirty years ago, San Francisco’s professional population was majority lawyers. Tech needed somewhere to go, and since in this nation, it has become “normal” for companies to never invest in anything but to take over what the public built and then never pay back, San Francisco and the Peninsula seemed like sweet and easy targets for a takeover.

This is not about affordable housing. The only way to create affordable housing in the face of this kind of ever-increasing demand, in a holistic way and maintain sustainable cities is to stop this madness and increase the number of innovation centers BEFORE the Peninsula is completely ruined. But this will take investment -and governments will need to find ways to get the companies who have benefited from the public resources to pay back.

The dishonest, corrupt arguments that somehow infinite and unsustainable overgrowth will someday cause affordability never worked in places like Hong Kong (where they heard exactly the same things and now they built what are literally 4X6 human cages and still they are not affordable, and still people cannot live near where they work, and a place with THE best public transit in the world with over 90% usage they still have commute times equal to Los Angeles and all the billions of lost man hours of productivity).

Equating densification and overdevelopment with affordability or environmentalism is FALSE and corrupt and has co-opted Progressives the way the Right has co-opted rightwing Christians into a political cult with the opposite views of their supposed religious leader (Jesus). Going along with this will only result in Progressives squandering this opportunity in California to be ACTUALLY holistic about the environment and housing and reversing its dominance in California politics.


5 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 31, 2019 at 11:17 am

High rises do create cheaper housing because of the very high land valuation of land in the successful cities. Dense cities do create heat islands. With global warming we really are in trouble. We must reduce our population and above all protect our watersheds. California must mature politically.

George Drysdale land economist


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2019 at 11:44 am

>> At first I used to see the high-rises along San Antonio Road and view them with dismay. Now I realize that they are in fact responsible living alternatives & solutions.

An oversimplification. In an extensive study done in Vancouver, British Columbia, an almost 2:1 ratio difference in energy consumption in high-rises was measured. Careful building design matters, which includes understanding moisture buildup, and so on, but, a key factor is whether people pay directly for their consumption. If every unit is metered and the residents pay, consumption is significantly reduced. The bottom line is that the design details matter enormously.

Calfornia is near the bottom in both overall per-capita energy consumption, and, per-capital -residential- energy consumption, despite a lot of suburban sprawl (which I'm not particularly in favor of, BTW). And this, despite the fact that California is overall (in value) self-sufficient in food.

Details matter.


18 people like this
Posted by I'm Buying Into PA High-Rise Condos
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 1:37 pm

>> a key factor is whether people pay directly for their consumption. If every unit is metered and the residents pay, consumption is significantly reduced. The bottom line is that the design details matter enormously.

Just slap some East to West solar panels on these proposed high-rise dwellings. That will offset some energy demands. Since the midpeninsula view isn't much to look at, having them along the sides of the building will suffice.

>> Calfornia is near the bottom in both overall per-capita energy consumption, and, per-capital -residential- energy consumption,

That's because of the seasonal warm weather. About the only major electricity drainer is AC during the summer months.

And if building more high-rises will reduce global warming, then it's a win-win except for maybe the old time residents still time-warped in the 1950s & 60s.

We just bought our first unit & plan to rent it out using a second mortgage to buy another one for rental purposes.

This things are GREAT!


17 people like this
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 31, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Just stop donating money to and end your membership with the Santa Clara and San Mateo democratic party.

Join LA's Democratic party, they opposed SB-50.


4 people like this
Posted by @Disgusted
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Yeah, clearly the Santa Clara and San Mateo branches of the Democratic Party aren't keeping their more affluent members interests in mind.


14 people like this
Posted by Whack-a-mole
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 31, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Why not legislate around actual bus stops only? Many people live within .5 miles of a "transit corridor" but are much farther than that from an actual bus stop.

Is distance measured as the crow flies? We live .5 miles from a bus "transit corridor," but only as the crow flies. It is over a mile to walk to that road, and about 2.5 miles to drive there.

VTA keeps eliminating buses and stops in and around Palo Alto. If stops or routes are added, then the SB 50 impacted area will also expand. If buses come less frequently or routes are eliminated, can we then remove those bulky buildings built per SB 50?

If there is a jobs/housing imbalance, then why not stabilize or reduce job growth to address the imbalance instead of merely increasing housing?

Why are towns like Los Altos that have more housing than jobs being subjected to SB 50? We have a jobs/housing imbalance in the other direction!

Trains are over capacity. Roads are over capacity. Airports are over-capacity. How does it make sense to keep adding people to a region that does not have enough infrastructure to support more people?

Why does this bill not address schools, colleges, parks, open space, etc? Shouldn't educational and recreational infrastructure also be increased if we are adding more people? Who will pay for it?

What about water? We don't have enough water to support everyone in this area now, so how does it make sense to add more jobs and more people?

Most people on the peninsula have chosen against living in a city. As this area densifies, it loses its appeal to old-timers like myself, to Gen-Zers like my children, and to the potential start-up entrepreneurs we work with. Even the young techies I know considering jobs at Facebook and Google would rather not move to CA. There are so many lovely areas in the country to live. How will CA survive when businesses and high income taxpayers relocate out of state because this is no longer a pleasant place to live?

SB 50 is like whack-a-mole.


1 person likes this
Posted by @Whack-a-mole
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2019 at 5:59 pm

"Most people on the peninsula have chosen against living in a city. As this area densifies, it loses its appeal to old-timers like myself, to Gen-Zers like my children"

Your Gen Z children aren't going to be able to afford to live in the area if more housing isn't added.


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2019 at 6:44 am

Annette is a registered user.

@Member - Palo Alto has been adopting policies to do right by the housing issue. For details on that I refer you to Pat Burt's above posts. But Palo Alto has simultaneously offset those in a negative way by approving too much unmitigated office space. We can thank the current and past Council Majority for that.

First our City Council (again, the majority) forced this city into the "jobs rich" category and now the State and our own Vice Mayor want to force us into becoming a housing dense city. This absurdly ignores the facts of our geography, the facts of infrastructure deficiency, and the glaringly obvious reality that despite having a couple of train stations we are not transit rich.

It has been stated by others that the problem is population. Warnings about that are at least 50 years old. It's time we heed that warning and create new job centers where there's room to grow.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2019 at 7:33 am

World population has more than doubled in the past 50 years. Today's kids will hear 15 billion knocking on our door. Whether or not the climate changes.


6 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:37 am

>Why are towns like Los Altos that have more housing than jobs being >subjected to SB 50? We have a jobs/housing imbalance in the other >direction!

Well said! The local resident genius who comments liberally in these forums on behalf of "millennials" (using the @prefix in responses) said the following: Palo Alto, if it doesn't like SB 50, should opt to be like Atherton as the latter has no jobs and is all housing whereas Palo Alto has an imbalance the other direction.

That argument renders hollow the reason why Los Altos (or the Hills...or Saratoga...) should be burdened by SB 50 when, as you pointed out, they indeed have a jobs/housing imbalance the other direction (in contrast to say Mountain View or Palo Alto...).

If jobs/housing imbalances are the reason for SB 50 then fix them by requiring each city to address that imbalance within its boundaries. That is well within the jurisdiction of each City's Council.

By demanding other cities, those that have imbalances in the other direction, also compromise their quality of life and character SB 50 has doomed itself...and those behind it expose their true agenda: impose their will on others (purportedly on behalf of "millennials" and the poor and so on) when they have no skin in the game. Just because they can.

The way to respond to them is through a referendum and initiative that would take away their powers. As with other initiatives passed in CA over the years. Let's get going.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:54 am

Asia is the biggest continent on the planet. Africa is the second biggest planet on the continent. South America is next along with North America. The USA by size relative to world populations and terrain is relatively small. The rest of the world is going to have to take care of their citizens instead of herding them off to other continents. This is year 2019 and they all have access to the internet that provides data and information on how to make things work. We are not the end all - be all for the world.


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 1, 2019 at 9:33 am

You have to read balance sheets and income statements. California government is bankrupt now with maybe a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. The baby boomer tsunami consumes all excess funding. Subsidized housing has to be at the bottom of the list. As long as you have intellectually challenged government California is not going to be a target of choice for real estate investors: those who actually put their money where their mouths are. Factors of production: LAND, labor and capital. Prediction: San Jose will throw out rent control later this year around Columbus Day. Mayor Locardo pridefully because of his Italian heritage (Florence Italy, the invention of the double entry system and the birth of modern banking and accounting) will throw rent control out of the big Silicon Valley City: San Jose. The great San Jose land swindle will be no more and will be replaced by tens of thousands of apartment house so those who can afford to live in the most expensive urban area the USA can have relatively cheaper housing. Meanwhile, I'm destroying rent control on mobile home parks anyway. Good thing I'm usually not around Palo Alto anyway. Land economics: the big play, perhaps, potato futures in Canada.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 2, 2019 at 6:39 am

In today's SJM they are talking about the problem of trash. Where does it go and who buys it - who is enmeshed in it - how is it ending up on our freeways and streams. Trying to attract more people to the state does not seem to address the issues of management of same once they get here. And include the management of water and gas lines, electricity. More people equates to more issues which are never addressed by our legislators in SAC. There is a whole group of people who are concentrated on producing an effect that is by definition unmanageable. The FB's and Googles are concerned with the bottom line of their companies but that bottom line does not appear to includes spreading employees out to other locations where the employees can obtain housing at a lower rate. Apple at least is developing sites in Texas. This state keeps going down the rabbit tunnel further and further. We are headed the wrong way.


14 people like this
Posted by @@Whack-a-mole
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 2, 2019 at 8:56 am

"Your Gen Z children aren't going to be able to afford to live in the area if more housing isn't added."

Sadly, my highly educated and employable Gen Z children (born 1994 and later) no longer desire to live here. They have moved to the northwest, the mid-atlantic, and out-of-country. All of them have deliberately chosen places that are more affordable and in their opinions, more interesting and with a better quality of life. Most of my nieces/nephews and their friends from this area have also pursued jobs out of state for quality of life reasons. The weather might be slightly better here, but they are choosing equally beautiful places with more outdoor recreational opportunities and no earthquakes; often they can walk or bike to work. The mountain states are popular. Their techie friends who have grown up out of state are either choosing not to move here, or are moving here reluctantly and in their minds "only" temporarily for a job (ie if the job were elsewhere, they would be also.) I know some people who own property here but no longer call this area home- they rent to their children and friends, but for tax purposes they themselves now make sure to spend over half the year living and working in another state (which they love, by the way). Similarly, we know several start-ups and growing companies that are choosing to incorporate and/or grow outside of CA because the taxes here are so high. One friend just returned from a trip to Mexico City and said he felt safer in Mexico than in San Francisco. What are we doing to CA?!


17 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

Annette is a registered user.

I hope CC reads what the above poster (@@Whack-a-mole) has written. We need to ask ourselves if the downside of tech is outweighing the benefits and if there's anything we can do to get that balanced. It's getting harder and harder to remain optimistic about the direction things are going. And I think SB50 is a sure way to make matters worse, statewide. By a lot.


Like this comment
Posted by HousingIsaRight
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2019 at 6:19 pm

NIMBYs ignore the fact that the whole damn problem is that this is exactly what the NIMBYs has forced everyone to do for the past 20 years and in past 5 years masses of people got pushed deep into fire burn zone forests and buying central valley farm land for housing, resulting in nightmare 2-3 hour daily commutes that destroy families quality of life, 1000s killed in fires and commuting accidents, 1000s of burned down homes, and making CA a leading GHG problem source. So, very few (filthy rich) NIMBYs are pro their quality of life, but the rest of us (including moderate and poor workers) and the planet be damned!!!

An important part of the solution to our housing crisis is to support SB 50 b/c it is the only way to assure the maximum amount of affordable housing gets built in every CA city with more people/jobs than affordable housing. Apartments must no longer be illegal to build in most of such CA cities, including Palo Alto.

Those looking for true facts and not NIMBY fake scare tactics news should read the AARP and Progressive Sen. Skinner (of Berkeley) supported SB 50 text directly where it requires developers provide high levels of affordable housing for the common welfare, here:
Web Link

So, w/ SB 50 we are guaranteed to increase our affordable housing stock, which cities cannot afford to do, so as a fair incentive private investors to take the risk with their money, they have to get enough market rate housing in the project to make it possible to provide the below market rate housing. SB 50 strikes that needed delicate balance b/c cities are broke and cannot afford to buy land and enough build large scale affordable housing to move the needle. You need developers and speculators to do that. Somebody has to pay the subsidized housing, so if not the government (socialism/communism), private capital has to still make a profit (aka capitalism). So, the 80% market rate (and/or luxury) units subsidize the creation of 20% lower income affordable units. This is the smart way to get subsidized housing, from the rich private sector paying for the poor, instead of more government debt to do it.

Notice how NIMBYs refuse to produce enough affordable housing near their jobs areas??? everyone (but the NIMBYs?) know people want to live where the jobs are, so it is only logical to densify in nearby transit and jobs rich areas, which is exactly what SB 50 provides.

something has to be done, and NIMBYs (and their defacto supporters) just saying "NO" and "Go elsewhere far away" is exactly what caused this crises, and only emergency actions will get us out of this housing emergency any time soon. So, we all should applaud Newsom for actually treating this like a state of emergency and not like all others who've been paying lip service to it while most Californians get crushed by bone crushing rents, house prices, and commutes.

local control = local rich NIMBY owners continue to block housing production = they make MUCH more $$$ = renters get crushed into leaving CA or into homelessness. We must stop the local control madness which is destroying lives, enriching NIMBYs, and harming our environment. To avoid sticks against NIMBYs from Newsom all together, just support the sensible SB 50, to support struggling renter's rights over rich NIMBY homeowners to get filthy richer!

The NIMBYs have created a humanitarian crisis according to the UN, but all they care about is stacking their local government with NIMBY officials while the rest of us are damned to misery and getting flushed down the toilet (and out of CA), making CA one of the highest poverty rate states in the country, and faulting our economic health as companies/jobs also leave in droves, which is what Berverly Hills, Mill Valley, Cupertino, and all NIMBYs, etc. are happy and highly effective at causing. They are simply limousine liberals pretending to be fighting for the poor when they are really hired (i.e., elected) to protect the rich, b/c renters do NOT vote, but homeowners DO. Shame on NIMBYs!!! They must be stopped.

Web Link
UN report calls Bay Area homeless crisis human rights violation
6
Special rapporteur cites SF and Oakland along with worst slums in the world

Web Link
United Nations report: SF homeless problem is 'violation of human rights'


8 people like this
Posted by Nonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2019 at 7:21 pm

> w/ SB 50 we are guaranteed to increase our affordable housing stock

HousingIsARight, let's set aside your rants and ravings for the moment.

I shall take your word on the wonderful things you say about SB 50.
How would you suggest we the gullible take you up on your guarantee re: SB 50 increasing the affordable housing stock. Put some numbers for us please.
Are you guaranteeing an increase of 25%? 50%? 100%? 1000%?
In what time frame after passage of SB 50 would you say we can see that increase?
And if there is no such increase in that time frame, would you agree to shut up and spare us your inane, asinine rants about matters you know nothing about and where you have no skin in the game?


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 3, 2019 at 6:21 am

It is amazing that we are debating how to create homes for the homeless, homes for the low income, traffic and infrastructure issues, and how to manage the infrastructure to support this whole population implosion. High number of kids in the classroom. Meanwhile people are coming over the border that have no home or realistic job opportunities and that is deemed as "no problem". Each of these concerns is being compartmentalized and argued as separate items with decisions being made that do not address the topic as a whole. How about the tax base that supports the city functions? SAC needs to stop now and put together a comprehensive approach which includes the border problem, traffic problem, and net effect of the regions within the state. This whole show is incomplete and thoughtless - a bunch of special interest groups addressing their own agendas for get rich schemes. If SAC cannot put this together then do not plan on winning any new jobs in the future.


4 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 3, 2019 at 10:37 am

Forget the rhetoric. California moneys is moving into Washington State (Columbia River water too). Under state law the owner has the right to sell his land to the highest and best use. Greedy realtors, no all social studies teachers are against rent (price) controls. No state income taxes in Washington state, a great place for rich successful Californians to move to. How unfair. What a lack of compassion. Study history and economics in school all all over the internet. Once things like SB 50 and other forms of price fixing are eliminated then the real estate investors might come back to the F students in basic economics (San Francisco values) might return.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2019 at 10:59 am

Posted by george drysdale, a resident of Professorville

>> Forget the rhetoric. California moneys is moving into Washington State (Columbia River water too). Under state law the owner has the right to sell his land to the highest and best use.

I sure hope that all the real-estate speculators give up on California and move somewhere else. Good riddance. But, I hope not to Washington State. Too nice.

>> No state income taxes in Washington state, a great place for rich successful Californians to move to.

Florida has its 100-year tradition of rampant real-estate speculation in its favor. Low taxes. Whiners prefer the weather in Florida, too. Speculators should move there where they are welcome.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2019 at 8:13 am

In the SJM today Mountain View - Council approves razing dwellings - tear down rent controlled apartments and replace with townhouses. That is how you add to the tax base of the city. The rent controlled apartments are probably old and have a low property tax base. Tear down and replace changes up the tax base for those properties and displaces all of the low income people who live there. It appears that all of the concerns about low income people can disappear very quickly. I hope the city of PA does not feel the need to house the displaced low income people "out of compassion". I think my newspaper delivery person lives in one of the tear downs - I recognize the street name. Each city is addressing these issues in their own individual manner so the "regional approach" has gone out the door. We do not need to buy other cities issues.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2019 at 11:54 am

>> In the SJM today Mountain View - Council approves razing dwellings - tear down rent controlled apartments and replace with townhouses.

I haven't seen the details yet, but, if your description is accurate, this is -exactly the wrong thing to do- to make housing more affordable. Which all goes to demonstrate once again that -they- don't really care about affordable housing.


7 people like this
Posted by Tis is a Sacramento decision
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Tis is a Sacramento decision is a registered user.

Gennady, it would be helpful to give people addresses where they can write to weigh in (either for or against) to key decision-makers on this issue.

I support building more housing and I have been glad to support hat locally, but I think this is very poorly written legislation. Folks, local Coucnl members really have no say in SB50. You should be focused on your representatives in Sacramento who will be the ones voting on this. They don't read PA Online. Write to them today...and pay attention to how they vote.


16 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2019 at 12:36 pm

>> In the SJM today Mountain View - Council approves razing dwellings - tear down rent controlled apartments and replace with townhouses.

Here is a link to the Mountain View Voice article about this:

Web Link

Somewhat to my surprise, not only are they destroying 59 units, the replacement only has 54 units. A neighboring project is removing 20 units and replacing them with 15 units. Another project is removing 34 units and replacing with a smaller number of units.

The bottom line in all this is that "the market" is not building affordable units, and will not.

But, not to worry. There will be affordable housing in Community College parking lots.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2019 at 9:28 pm

The creators of SB50 live in the city of San Francisco. They need to know that the peninsula is not stepping up to what ever they put out there. And our Mr. Hill and Mr. Berman need to make it clear that the concept is ill conceived and anyone in SAC who votes for this is not going to win any additional races for office. Further - If Mr. Weiner or Chiu think they are stepping up to any office that we can vote on then they are in trouble. You can add the AG to that list - he is continuing to attempt to isolate the state with all of his law suits - most of which have nothing to do with his job description. He is clearly trying to run the show and needs to be stopped. The LA papers are cutting into what he is up to.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 5, 2019 at 8:33 am

In the SFC today major article concerning this bill which is rejected by the Board of Supervisors of the SF city from which Mr. Weiner arose to fame. Weiner's point is that the SF city is already densely packed so little effect on the city but goal is to eliminate single family homes.
The curse of the single family home is that you have to deal with individual property owners. If you eliminate them you have corporations which own the properties. If you read the rest of your paper it is showing the homes for sale all over the region with emphasis on single family homes. If people are paying top dollar for a single family homes then how do you expect to go in and tear those down to put in apartment buildings? This points to individual legislators trying to service large corporations at the expense of the rest of the population. Sorry - how to kill your political advancement up the chain of wannabe presidential candidates. So much for name recognition. And the relators who are supposedly for this bill are cutting their own throats. Their sales are in single family homes. So what we have really is a fight between ownership of properties - individuals or corporations which tend to increase the rent on the people who live there. What a happy place this Blue state is - individual vs corporate control. And servicing the needs of the less well paid is a fallacy as MV is tearing down rent controlled apartments to put in expensive townhouses. If you look at this situation long enough the pattern is very clear. And if you look at the requirement for transportation to service this whole farce we paid in taxes to BART to circle the bay. So where is the Bart station in any city south of the outer reaches of San Mateo County? What ever any one is telling you there is a Wizard of Oz behind the CA scene and it has nothing to do with Wash DC. It is all on the state and it's total incompetence and self serving politico's.


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:28 am

There is plenty of land to develop even in San Francisco a city stricken by rent control. Look at Tokyo (do your internet search). What stinks is the politicians from San Francisco (Weiner, Chui etc.). Free markets work best. Blue state: low I.Q. Check Pew and Zogby testing. Rent control is going down sooner than later. Social studies teachers and the internet now rule. Build, build, build. Single houses are good for the relatively rich. Palo Alto needs a construction boom not only for high density but for it's rickety old houses. Equality of results is impossible.

Geroge Drysdale the provider of much greater wealth first in Silicon Valley


6 people like this
Posted by Protect people
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:38 am

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Buy and upzone 335 Webster
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Fine will have a chance to put money where his mouth is. Next Tuesday, buy the former City manager's share of a single family home. Use it for affordable housing/shelter now. Then use SB50 to upzone it into 4 or more affordable units?


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Sure, 4 units on that 5662 square foot lot could work, but, a 4-story unit with the same footprint as the current house could hold about 36 of those new 256 square foot micro-units you can find in the South of Market area in SF. What are we waiting for?


Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:39 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Absurd comment on purchase of City Manager's home and turning it into affordable housing/shelter. What about the neighbors to that house? You are now changing up the total block with such a suggestion. And the traffic patterns for that block. When people buy a home in PA it is based on the location relative to schools, amenities, etc. A homeless shelter is not part of that mix.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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